Architects build Small Spaces
This summer, the V&A museum has commissioned seven architects at the forefront of experimental design to create their first built structures, design structures which explore notions of refuge and "retreat".
Due to my fascination for tree houses and trees (see tree house and Big Bambu), I chose "Ratatosk", a playful climbing structure, built of ash trees, strips of willow, moss, and gnarled knots, designed by the Norwegian group Helen and Hard architects.
Recalling the tradition of the British 18th-century garden folly, this climbing structure reawakens our memories of childhood play and exploration. 'Ratatosk' is an Old Norse word which means 'drill-tooth'. It refers to an ancient squirrel from Norse mythology that lived in a giant ash tree standing at the centre of the cosmos.
The architects have split five ash trees lengthways and planted them face to face, thus allowing visitors to step into the 'interior space' of the trees. Crowning the structure is a hand-woven willow canopy which hangs over a soft play-surface of wood shavings.
A glimpse at the construction process
Click to see more on the exhibition at V & A museum UK